Andrew is homeless in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. When I offered him socks, Andrew showed me that he needed new shoes. He was hiking the Appalachian Trail, and his shoes wore out.
Nine months ago, Andrew’s son died. He set out to hike the Appalachian Trail because it’s something he has always wanted to do and to find himself again. Andrew says the military taught him how to take care of himself, but the Appalachian Trail taught him about being more self-sufficient.
Andrew says that Harrisburg, like many communities, is lacking in resources to help homeless people get out of homelessness. Also, like in many communities, Andrew says there is plenty of food. There is food insecurity in the United States but homeless people in urban areas are often overfed.
After this interview, I went and bought Andrew’s new shoes. I share on social media that I do this type of charity, not for me, but to inspire others to do the same. The homeless sector now has conference sessions on how to engage with people who have lived experience of homelessness when it’s really as easy as 1) see people 2) listen to their stories 3) be present 4) if they share a need and you can help, DO IT 5) repeat often.